Phases of Decoding

Just as the simple view of reading is a useful organizing tool for considering reading skills, dividing decoding into phases is a useful way to consider decoding skills.

Ehri and her colleagues describe five phases of “working knowledge of the alphabetic system”. Their phases are pre-alphabetic, partial alphabetic, full alphabetic, consolidated alphabetic, and automatic.

These phases are general and descriptive; they are neither set nor universal stages of reading acquisition. Rather, they are categories used to clarify the text-based elements of the complex, interactive relationships among the many influences on reading skills.

  1. Pre-alphabetic
  2. Partial alphabetic
  3. Full alphabetic
  4. Consolidated alphabetic
  5. Automatic.

This table presents the sequence, content, assessment, and instruction of decoding.

home diagram

Ehri and McCormick, 1998

Ehri & Soffer, 1999

Leslie & Caldwell, 2001

Snowling, Gallagher, & Frith, 2003